Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2009  We ask God to help us overcome sin in our lives and to yes to God, as Mary always did.

Homily, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Fr. Ed Oen, C.PP.S.

Originally, the title of tonight’s feast was entitled, “The Conception by St. Ann of the Mother of God.” This ancient title makes clear what the feast is all about. Sometimes people confuse the Immaculate Conception of Jesus with that of Mary. Tonight’s Gospel tells us the story about the Immaculate Conception of Jesus. Two human beings were born without sin. They were created without sin.

The church back in 1854, declared it was a true understanding that Mary was born Immaculate. So the feast of the Immaculate Conception became something very special after 1854. Four years later, the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes admitted, when questioned by her mother, that she had seen a "lady" in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town. Bernadette did not understand what the Immaculate Conception was all about. And so she asked the woman who he was. She replied, “I am the Immaculate Conception.” Bernadette asked what that meant. And so we have a peasant girl who heard the message from the Virgin Mary herself. She gave that title to herself when she said, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

God created all of us with original sin, because we inherited it from Adam and Eve. So unlike Jesus and Mary, we were not conceived immaculate but we were later purified in the waters of baptism. The waters of baptism cleansed us from all sin. So there was a time when we were without sin. We honor Mary the Mother of God tonight; we however have gone on to commit our own personal sins. We sinned like Adam and Eve, because we want to do what we want to do; we want to set the rules. We don’t like rules being forced on us from the outside. There are many people today who do not believe in external rules, the commandments. Adam and Eve also did not believe in the punishment that would come if they did not keep the commandments.

But God doesn’t give up on us if we commit sin. We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is like a second baptism. When we leave the confessional and walk back to our seat, we know that we are without sin because the Lord in His love, takes away all our sins.

Tonight we thank God for creating the Blessed Virgin Mary without sin. We also ask God to help us overcome sin in our lives and to yes to God, as Mary always did.

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